EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 1, 2012

Salem will elect nine to N.H. House

By Doug Ireland direland@eagletribune.com
The Eagle-Tribune

---- — SALEM — Eighteen candidates — nine Republicans and nine Democrats — hope to represent the town in the state House.

Salem, which previously shared a House district with Windham, now has its own — Rockingham County House District 8.

The candidates include five GOP incumbents — Gary Azarian, Ronald Belanger, Robert Elliott, Marilinda Garcia and John Sytek.

Former Rep. Anne Priestley, a Republican, also is seeking a return to the House. There were no Democratic House members from Salem during the last legislative session.

Most the candidates have said at political forums that the main issue facing the town and state is the need to revitalize its sluggish economy. That includes approving expanded gambling and opening a casino at the former Rockingham Park racetrack, they said.

Gary Azarian

Age: 52

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Real estate, food service

Elective office experience: State representative, Zoning Board of Adjustment

What do you plan to do if elected? If re-elected, my priorities are to create jobs, expand gaming, finish the Interstate 93 project, and reduce the regulatory burden on small business.

Ronald Belanger

Age: 73

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Retired police detective

Elective office experience: State representative, Zoning Board of Adjustment, selectman, Planning Board

What do you plan to do if elected? I’ll fight for expanded gaming at Rockingham Park and expansion of Interstate 93. I’ll help keep taxes down and oppose income and sales taxes. I’ll listen to all concerns.

Patrick Bick

Age: 65

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Retired

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected? I will work to create a business-friendly environment, improve education, complete Interstate 93, provide affordable health care, and care for veterans, the disabled, seniors and the unborn.

Lawson Brouse

Age: 62

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired small-business owner

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: Help develop revenue sources to sustain the progress on Interstate 93. Restore cuts and defend New Hampshire’s public education system. Protect the Affordable Health Care Act.

Susan Desmet

Age: 56

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I would be a voice for New Hampshire, advocating for sustained revenue sources that protect the property owner, and supporting a strong workforce and affordable education.

Robert Elliott

Age: 80

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Retired

Elective office experience: State representative

What do you plan to do if elected?: I will work to lower the business tax rate — the highest in the country.

Harley Featherston

Age: 85

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired

Elective office experience: Trustee of trust funds

What do you plan to do if elected?: I would try to straighten out some of what has happened the last two years.

Rebecca Fee

Age: 70

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired repeat designer

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I hope to be able to counteract some of the destructive legislation, especially in education, that has been proposed at the Statehouse.

Bianca Garcia

Age: 26

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Musician

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I will be accessible to the people of my electorate. I will embrace greater efficiency and cut regulations on small business to bolster “the New Hampshire Advantage.”

Marilinda Garcia

Age: 29

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Educator, business development specialist

Elective office experience: State representative

What do you plan to do if elected?: Maintain “the New Hampshire Advantage” of no income or sales taxes, encourage economic development, and continue work on health care regulatory reform and transparency in health-care pricing.

Camron Iannalfo

Age: 24

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: University of Massachusetts Lowell student

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: We must take advantage of this opportunity to expand gaming, which will add jobs, increase revenue, and increase tourism right here in Salem. It just makes sense.

Dee Lewis

Age: 63

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Retired human resources manager, employment counselor

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I will serve the citizens of Salem — listening and understanding Salem’s needs and voting and introducing legislation accordingly. I have no hidden social agendas.

John Murphy

Age: 64

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Labor union representative

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I will defend collective bargaining rights for workers, invest in our children’s future by fully funding public schools, and protect senior citizens right to Medicare.

Michael Murray

Age: 68

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Guardian ad litem for family courts

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I will support expanded gaming at Rockingham Park, support quality public education and effectively work with my fellow legislators to represent the needs of the people.

Anne Priestley

Age: Refused to disclose

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Retired 32-year town employee

Elective office experience: State representative

What do you plan to do if elected?: I plan to do my best for constituents, keep government out of family decisions, and keep an open mind. I support gambling at Rockingham Park.

Ralph Stein

Age: 82

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: Lawyer

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: Correct the excess of the prior Legislature, by among other things, restoring funding to our university system and exploring innovative ways to solve fiscal crisis.

Joseph Sweeney

Age: 18

Political party: Democrat

Occupation: University of New Hampshire student

Elective office experience: None

What do you plan to do if elected?: I plan on being a voice of reason and bring common-sense solutions to the House while voting on legislation that gets the economy growing.

John Sytek

Age: 69

Political party: Republican

Occupation: Salem High School teacher

Elective office experience: State representative, town treasurer

What do you plan to do if elected?: The committee I serve on regulates occupational licensing, which has become excessive and unreasonable. I will work to reduce this burden, which limits competition and drives up consumer costs.